Serow Capricornis sumatraensis.JPG
Mainland serow (Capricornis sumatraensis) at Dusit Zoo, Bangkok, Thailand.
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Bovidae
Subfamily: Caprinae
Tribe: Ovibovini
Genus: Capricornis
Ogilby, 1837
Type species
Antilope thar

Capricornis crispus
Capricornis rubidus
Capricornis sumatraensis
Capricornis swinhoei

The serows (/səˈr/ or /ˈsɛr/) are four species of medium-sized goat-like or antelope-like mammals of the genus Capricornis. All four species of serow were until recently also classified under Naemorhedus, which now only contains the gorals.

Extant species

Image Scientific name Common Name Distribution
Capricornis crispus Japanese serow Honshu, Kyushu, and Shikoku in Japan
Serow Capricornis sumatraensis.JPG
Capricornis sumatraensis Mainland serow Eastern Himalayas, eastern and southeastern Bangladesh, China, Southeast Asia, and on the Indonesian island of Sumatra
Capricornis rubidus.jpg
Capricornis rubidus Red serow southern Bangladesh and northern Myanmar
Capricornis swinhoei Taiwan serow Taiwan

Serows live in central and eastern Asia. Their coloration varies by species, region, and individual. Both sexes have beards and small horns which are often shorter than their ears.

Like their smaller relatives the gorals, serows are often found grazing on rocky hills, though typically at a lower elevation when one species of each share territory. Serows are slower and less agile than gorals, but they nevertheless can climb slopes to escape predation, and to take shelter during cold winters or hot summers. Serows, unlike gorals, make use of their preorbital glands in scent marking.

Fossils of serow-like animals date as far back as the late Pliocene, two to seven million years ago. The common ancestor species of the Caprinae subfamily may have been very similar to modern serows.

The serow subfamily population as a whole is considered endangered. Most serow species are included in the red list of IUCN with decreasing populations. The Japanese serow is better protected than the other sub-species of serows (source: IUCN 2008).


  1. ^ Grubb, P. (2005). Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M. (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 703–705. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.